Prof Sahib Singh ji was a Gursikh of very high calibre, who made a great contribution to the Singh Sabha movement.
Bhai Sahib Singh ji was born in a village called Fatehwalli in 16/02/1892. This village is in Sialkot. His family had come from Ram Nagar which was part of Gujranwal, in Pakistan. His father was a shop keeper in a very poor village. His father's name was Hera Nand. Prof Sahib Singh ji's was originally named Natho Ram. Soon after Natho Ram was born his family moved to another village named Therpal.
Natho Ram obtained his schooling from local the local Molvee (Muslim preacher). Although his father was very poor, he made sure that his son attended school and that his fees were paid for. Natho Ram was very lucky to meet Molvee Hazet Khan who encouraged his father to make sure that his son attend further education. Due to British rule all further education was in English. Natho Ram did very well at school and attained very high marks. Due to this he received a scholarship of 6RPS, which was a lot of money in those days.
Whilst at junior school Natho Ram saw Sikh soldiers and was so impressed with them that he decided to keep Kesh. In 1906, when he was in the ninth grade he became Amritdhari. Guru ji blessed him with the name of Sahib Singh. It's at this time that Bhai Sahib Singh ji stopped learning Farsi and started learning Sanskrit, which later on became very useful in understanding Guru Granth Sahib ji.
In 1907 his father passed away, which created some fincial problems for the family. Bhai Sahib Singh was to enter tenth grade, but did not have the money to pay the fees. His father's sister sold her jewelry to pay the fees.
After passing tenth grade, Bhai Sahib joined a local school as a teacher with a wage of 10Rps. He wanted to study further but did not have any money to pay for higher education. He applied for a job with the postal service, got the interview but did not have money to travel to where the interview was being held. He was very lucky that the person who used to clean their house gave him 2Rps for this task. With Guru jis blessing he was offered the post, with an income of 20Rps.
Soon Bhai Sahib Singhs' desire for higher education became so great that he left home with only 2Rps in his pocket. By the time he arrived in Lahore he had only 7 paisas in his pocket. He had no where to go with virtually no money in his pocket. He then remembered that there was a teacher he knew named Pundit Vesta Parsad, so Sahib Singh decided to go and see him.
Pundit ji gave Bhai Sahib new clothes and had him admitted to College. Sahib Singh ji passed his FA and BA from this college and stared work at Frakka college with an income of 75Rps. Later, Bhai Sahib ji joined Gujranwala Khalsa college with a salary of 70Rps. It was at this college that he met Bava Harkrishan Singh and Bhai Jodh Singh. Sahib Singh's financial situation had improved by this time such that he was able to pay back the money that he had borrowed in the past.
In 1921 Bhai Sahib Singh ji became the Assistant General Secretary of the SGPC. This was a very brave decision to take since this was during the time when Guru Panth was in direct confrontation with the British in India. Bhai Sahib Singh took part in Guru Ka Bagh Morcha in 1922 and was arrested. In 1923 Bhai ji was again arrested when he took part in Jaito da Morcha. In 1927 Bhai ji rejoined Gujranwala college, where he stayed until 1936. At this time Bhai ji moved to Amritsar and joined the Khalsa college as a lecturer in Punjabi. It was at this college that he spent most of his life. At the college he met Gursikhs like Prof Teja Singh, Prof Ganda Singh, Bhai Veeram Singh and Prof Mohan Singh ji. In 1952 Sahib Singh ji retired from this college to take up a post as Principal at Shaheed Missionary college, Amritsar. In 1962 Bhai ji left to join his son at Sidva Bit near Jagroan. When his son moved to Patiala, Bhai ji took classes at Gurmat college in Patiala.
Prof. Sahib Singh was physically a very weak person, often afflicted with illnesses. Nonetheless, Prof. Sahib Singh was very strong willed and survived all the battles of life. Ultimately, he became very ill, being afflicted with Parkinson's disease. Bhia Sahib passed away on 29th of October 1977.
There are certain things we need to remember from his life. Bhai Sahib ji, by his own free will decided to keep his Kesh and become Amritdhari. By his own free will, Bhai Sahib decided to work for the SGPC at a time when most people wanted to avoid doing this. Whichever task Prof Sahib Singh decided to do, he would put in one hundred percent and was willing to face the problems head on. His contribution to the Singh Sabha movement is beyond any measure. His contribution to Guru Khalsa Panth is also beyond any meaningful description. His gift to the Khalsa panth is his translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Gurbani Viakaran. To date, no other person has produced anything of this nature. On top of this he had written over 20 books. Coming from a very humble background with extreme poverty and from another religion, he has become an example for us all.
Excerpts taken from
Taken from Gurmat Learning Zone.
An Interview of Sardar Bahadur Singh ji